1. Morning Skate Update
No new information, really, from this morning’s skate (though there appears to be good news on the T.J. Oshie front):
T.J. Oshie (lower-body) will be a game-time decision tonight for Game 1 vs Boston, per Laviolette.— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) May 15, 2021
Capitals lines at morning skate (yet to do D pairs):— Tom Gulitti (@TomGulittiNHL) May 15, 2021
Everyone accounted for other than Kuznetsov and Samsonov, who remain in COVID-19 protocol.
He’s in (and it looks like Sheary-Eller-Raffl is primed to face the Bergeron line, as we’d suggested). And speaking of in...
Vitek Vanecek was the first goaltender off the ice at Capitals' morning skate. The rookie appears likely to be in net tonight for Game 1.— Samantha Pell (@SamanthaJPell) May 15, 2021
And on the “other” front...
Laviolette says he thinks he will answer questions on Kuznetsov and Samsonov tomorrow, doesn't want to talk about it on game day— JJ Regan (@JJReganNBCS) May 15, 2021
And here’s what they’re likely to face:
Bruins projected lines for Game 1 vs. Capitals:— Matt Porter (@mattyports) May 15, 2021
2. One and Done?
Teams that win Game 1 in an NHL best-of-seven series end up winning those series 69 percent of the time (489-222). When the home team wins game one, that number jumps to nearly 76 percent (340-110).
For their part, the Bruins are on a five-Game 1 win streak (they’ve won three of those series), while the Caps have lost five of their last seven Games 1 (including dropping Game 1 in Vegas in 2018, a series that turned out okay).
This series is by no means over after one game, of course, but if the Caps lose on Saturday night (and lost home-ice advantage), they’d need to win four of six games against a red-hot Boston team; if they win, they only need to split six games to advance. It’s pretty important that the Caps hold serve in D.C., and that starts with a win tonight.
3. You Can Pick Your Friends...
The picks are in and, well...
- Fifteen out of sixteen NHL.com folks picked the B’s.
- Fourteen of sixteen at ESPN.com have Boston advancing.
- Seventy-one percent of The Athletic’s NHL staff picked the Bruins.
- Seventeen of twenty-three at Sportsnet went for Boston.
- An anonymous NHL executive, coach and scout each took the Bruins.
- Pro Hockey Talk (NBC Sports) has B’s in six.
You get the point.
There’s nothing playoff teams like more than to cast themselves as underdogs, and the Caps would appear to have a strong argument that that’s their role in this series, despite home-ice advantage. So it’s “Caps against the world,” a posture that suits Washington just fine: